Portrait of Professor Mattias Frey

Professor Mattias Frey

Professor of Film, Media and Culture


Professor Mattias Frey is Professor of Film, Media and Culture at the University of Kent. He is a film and media industries scholar.

In his current research, Professor Frey has taken a critical media industries approach to film (esp. distribution, regulation, exhibition); film and media audiences; promotional media and cultural intermediation (esp. film marketing, criticism); and digital culture (e.g. algorithmic recommender systems and media platforms). His most recent work has examined VOD services such as Netflix and MUBI as well as the audiences of these platforms.

Professor Frey’s most recent monograph is Netflix Recommends: Algorithms, Film Choice, and the History of Taste (University of California Press, 2021).

His seven other books include The Permanent Crisis of Film Criticism: The Anxiety of Authority (Amsterdam UP, 2015); Film Criticism in the Digital Age (Rutgers UP, 2015; co-edited with Cecilia Sayad); Extreme Cinema: The Transgressive Rhetoric of Today’s Art Film Culture (Rutgers UP, 2016); MUBI and the Curation Model of Video on Demand (Palgrave, 2021).

From 2015 to 2018, he received the Philip Leverhulme Prize, which awards ‘the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising’. He is also recipient of an AHRC Early Career Fellowship in 2013-2014. In 2012 he was awarded the University Teaching Prize for his pedagogical work on film criticism; in 2017 he was recipient of the University Research Prize (Faculty of Humanities). His book Extreme Cinema received the 2017 BAFTSS (British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies) Best Monograph Award Honourable Mention. Another, The Permanent Crisis of Film Criticism, was a shortlisted finalist for the 2016 BAFTSS Best Monograph Award.

In the academic year 2014-2015 Professor Frey served as invited Visiting Professor of Art and New Media at the Universitaet Bremen, where he took part in a research cluster on the audio history of film, funded through the Exzellenzinitiative. In 2011, he was invited guest researcher at the Humboldt Universitaet zu Berlin for a project on cross-cultural film criticism.

In addition to his research and teaching, he has served as the Head of Film and Media Studies, Acting Head of the School of Arts, Director of Internationalisation for the Faculty of Humanities, Director of Learning and Teaching for the School of Arts, Director of Internationalisation for the School of Arts, Director of Recruitment and Marketing for the School of Arts, Acting Associate Dean for Research and Innovation for the Faculty of Humanities, Managing Director of the Centre for Film and Media Research and in a variety of other roles.

Research interests

Professor Frey’s current projects include analyses of cultural diversity in film production, distribution, intermediation and reception and a study of how streaming services like Netflix affect media diversity and consumption.

Over his career, research endeavours have included studies of specific genres and production trends (period/historical film and series; arthouse extreme cinema), institutions (film and other arts criticism; video on demand platforms such as Netflix), periods (postwar and contemporary) and geographical areas (German and Austrian film), not to mention classical and contemporary film theory. These publications, informed by media industries, sociology of art, political economy and cultural studies perspectives, demonstrate the productivity of triangulating methods first developed in seemingly distant areas of the humanities and social sciences. Professor Frey would welcome serving as a postgraduate supervisor in these and related subjects.

Professor Frey has served as a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College, on several award-granting committees of the Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), the Steering Committee of the German Screen Studies Network (GSSN), the Advisory Board of the journal Alphaville, the Advisory Board of the Journal Research in Film and History and in numerous other validation and examining roles.

He is frequently invited to guest lecture or to speak at research seminars, symposia and other public events, including recently at the British Film Institute, Deutsches Filmmuseum Frankfurt, Filmuniversitaet Babelsberg, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Cambridge University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Kings College London, University of Bristol, University of Edinburgh, University of Sussex, University of Birmingham, Universita di Bologna, Universitet Gent, Waseda University Tokyo, Universitaet Frankfurt, Universitaet Bremen, Universitaet Passau, Boston University and the Freie Universitaet Berlin.


Professor Frey teaches modules on film marketing and distribution, film criticism, film audiences, television, period and historical films, film theory, European cinema and promotional media.


Professor Frey supervises PhD, MA and BA dissertations and welcomes queries about topics from potential applicants. He is especially interested in supervising dissertations that take a media industries approach and/or examine under-researched aspects of film and media culture (e.g., audiences, distribution, marketing, exhibition, reception, funding, criticism, awards).

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